The City of Minneapolis made an intentional commitment to equity about six years ago, beginning with creation of a leadership development model and a performance review system that integrated cultural competency, says Chief Human Resources Officer Patience Ferguson.
“Those early efforts helped the city identify emerging, diverse leaders and what they needed to advance,” says Ferguson. “They helped us identify unconscious bias in the hiring process, which led to a requirement that hiring panels be diverse. We also instituted provisions for additional compensation for positions where bilingual skills are needed.”
In addition, the City has six employee resource groups, which leverage the talents of active, engaged leaders to develop new solutions that support a diverse, inclusive and equitable workforce.
Today, Ferguson characterizes the City’s leadership development efforts as learning to “lead yourself, lead your team, lead others.” A range of workshops, trainings and speakers support mid- and senior-level leaders.
The City also put a program in place for frontline managers to help them understand the importance of diverse management styles. “While many programs are offered to leaders at high levels, we wanted to support the many managers who may not ordinarily have exposure to leadership training. We’re helping those managers increase their equity lens and to recognize people come into a position with different experiences and expectations.”